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Tuesday, September 27, 2016

10 tips to help you save home energy



Before you spend money on the latest energy-efficient gizmo that's supposed to save you money, let's look at some energy saving ideas that will really help you save home energy. The strategies that we will look at will maximize the effort you put in, and help reduce your home energy consumption.



First sit down and think about all the different ways your family uses energy around the house. Now put an approximate type and cost of energy used. You may have trouble breaking down the cost but try to do it. Now all you have to do is find ways to save on your resources at the same time cut your costs. You may have to think creatively but it can be done.



So here are some tips to get you started:



- Turn the lights off when you're not using them. This is really simple and easy to do. Do you really need your bedroom light on when you're in the living room? Do you leave lights on when you leave the house? Do you even need more than one light on in a room for what you are doing? Believe it or not it makes a big difference.



- Turn all electronics and other appliances off when you're not using them. No one can do everything at the same time. Can you really listen to a radio, watch television, and use your computer all at the same time?



- Set your thermostat down a couple of degrees in winter, or up in summer, to conserve energy. And dress appropriately indoors for the time of year it is. For instance in winter, put on a sweater or some extra clothing, or may snuggle under a blanket to stay warm. In the summer, wear less and stay cooler naturally.



- Only turn an appliance on when you have a full load. This is true especially for the washing machine, dryer and even the dishwasher. It is amazing how much extra energy is used doing multiple small loads in comparison to one full load.



- Do regular maintenance on your appliances. Keeping them clean means they don't have to work as hard. Changing filters reduces the energy needed to accomplish a task. Regular care will also mean any maintenance bills that you might come up against may well be cheaper.



- Be careful how you use your water. Like when brushing your teeth or washing your hands, use only the water you need. Don't let the water run the entire time. Also, try and use less water if you take a bath, or control your shower times.



- Simply let your hair air dry, instead of using a blow drier every day.



- Lower the temperature on your water heater to 120 degrees F.



Don't forget the bigger projects as well.



- Seal the cracks around your doors and windows. You are paying for your hot air that escapes through cracks all around your house. You need to make sure you are doing all you can to keep the warm air you're paying for inside your house.



- You also need to check your house's insulation. Though this has been done by many homeowners nevertheless you still need to do it before you pass it over. It is probably the biggest thing in reducing heating costs.



Now some of these things may seem trivial to you but let me assure you that even the small things add up over time. And really most of them you won't even notice the difference to your life except your bills.



These tips and suggestions will make your home more affordable, and take some strain off of our world's resources. Just think if all of us would make a few of these changes, it would make a huge difference.



by: Dave McIntosh

http://www.articlecity.com/articles/home_improvement/article_7258.shtml



Why exterior trim is a key part of home remodeling





No matter how well maintained, most homes will need some exterior trim replaced from time to time. Traditional wood trim boards can split, crack and rot over time, as a result of damage from the rain, snow, wind and sun.



Replacing old or damaged exterior trim with engineered wood composite trim is one way homeowners can make their home look better, while using an environmentally friendly product.



Check your exterior trim



Take a few minutes this fall to walk around your house and inspect your exterior trim. Look closely at the trim around your windows and doors, at the corners and near the roofline. Pay special attention to peeling or blistering paint, green algae, warped boards, and spongy or soft spots. Also, check for termite damage, which creates more damage to U.S. homes than fire, floods and storms combined.



There are several options for replacing your existing trim. Although traditional wood trim often looks good when first installed, it can split and swell, and is prone to knots and defects. Other materials, like PVC and fiber cement trim, have performance limitations and may pose installation challenges.



"Like many home products, exterior trim has evolved over the years," says Peggie Bolan, vice president, building products, for JELD-WEN. "Today, homeowners can choose engineered products that last long and provide resistance to moisture, rot, termites and temperature extremes not found in other materials."



During extensive renovation of their 1830s Greek Revival-style farm house in Clifton Park, N.Y., Paul and Joanne Coons used more than 1,000 linear feet of MiraTEC Treated Exterior Composite Trim around windows, doors and other areas.



"We reviewed several trim options, but we liked MiraTEC because it is a wood composite that doesn't contain oil or vinyl like PVC trim, and it is manufactured with less embodied energy than products like fiber cement, which also creates a lot of silica dust when it's cut," says Paul Coons, who is also a retired director of environmental health and safety from the New York State Office of Mental Health.



With a clear cedar, wood grain-texture on one side and a contemporary smooth finish on the other, MiraTEC trim suits any home style. It is most often used for roofline fascia, soffits, window and door trim, corner trim, dentil, gables, column wraps, trim along porches and similar architectural components.



Joanne Coons, an environmental science teacher at Shenendehowa High School East, added, "MiraTEC trim fit well with our priorities - it is not only a green product but it also provides a nice, clean look that complements the home design. Overall, we also anticipate low maintenance and less frequent painting compared to wood."



Replacing your exterior trim is a great way to give your home a nice, clean new look. And, it can be done with the environment in mind. To learn more, visit www.miratectrim.com.



Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Details on carpet stain removal



Carpet stain removal can be a daunting task. It should also be done with much care and precaution to prevent damage on the carpet. While using the vacuum cleaner will do fine, it will only remove the dirt. Stains are different, thus, they should be treated differently.



Regardless of the approach employed in removing the stains, it is best to act immediately and quickly. If you wait in doing the cleaning, you risk ruining your carpet for good. Whether oil, wax, solid or liquid substances are spilled on the carpet, you need to grab a clean cloth to remove the solid substances or what can be removed from the stain.



Then you have to blot out as much of the stain as possible. If a liquid substance spilled the carpet, there might occur wicking. Wicking means that the liquid substances have pooled at the bottom of your carpet. Hence, it will weaken the fiber of your carpet, causing the stain to spread and resurface; and eventually, serious damage is done on your carpet.



To prevent wicking, you need to cover the area with a thick dry cloth, and weigh it down with thick books or something that is heavy. Leave it overnight and remove the stain as normal in the following day.



In the morning, when you are certain that no more liquid or staining material will come out, blot out the stain using a dampen cloth or sponge. Avoid scrubbing the carpet as it would weaken the fiber and cause the stain to spread to other areas.



Blotting the stain gently will remove the stain without causing further damage to the carpet. If the stain remains after blotting it with water, you may want to squirt mild dish washing liquid onto it to clean. Blot the stain gently and let it sit for an hour before you blot again with a cool damp sponge or cloth until the stain is totally removed.



There are many carpet stain removal products available in the market in case you do not like to use dishwashing liquid detergent. Commercial products designed for removing stains vary based on what types of stains on your carpet.



For them to be effective, you need to figure out what type of stains your carpet has. If it is greasy like oils for cooking, body, automotive or moisturizing, use grease-based stain removal products.



If the stains are acid-based like coffee or urine, your choices are oil-based or acid-based products. In oil-based, the stains are dissolved, while in acid-based, the chemical quality of the spots are changed in order to make them easy to remove.



If you are not certain on the type of stain your carpet has, choose the all-purpose type of carpet stain removal product.



In all your undertakings, it is best to test the carpet stain removal product in a corner of the carpet or in any out-of-the-way area of the carpet, lest, you may risk creating a faded spot that may look more hideous than the stain itself.



by Rudy Silva

http://www.articlecity.com/articles/home_improvement/article_6257.shtml



Tuesday, September 13, 2016

A few tips when fitting wooden flooring



Laminate and wooden flooring looks great in almost any room. If you are considering fitting the wooden flooring yourself then there are a few tips that may help you to fit it easier and may add a more professional finish to it. With some hard work, patience and the right flooring tools it may not be as difficult to achieve a good finish as you imagine.



Before laying the laminate or wooden flooring ensure that your under floor is in good condition and is as flat and bounce-free as possible. Uneven areas should try to be repaired. The flatter the surface the better the wooden flooring will look.Ideally you will want the new wooden flooring to run length-ways along your room as this looks better than width-ways, however if your existing floorboards also run length-ways it is a bad idea to fit them directly together as this can lead to joint separation and unevenness. If this is the case then fit plywood over the entire floor surface so that you have a flat surface to then work on.



Once your existing floor is ready, lay an insulating membrane across the entire flooring area. This keeps heat in the room and dampens noise when the wooden flooring is walked upon and is highly recommended. Once this has been laid you are ready to lay your new wooden flooring panels. The easiest way is to work from farthest wall from the door inwards as this is the most seen part of the room. If possible remove skirting boards and door architraves so that you can work from the wall. If this isn't possible then beading can be fixed to these areas afterwards to give a tidy finish.



When laying the flooring panels always stagger joints by using random length flooring pieces as this will add to the strength of the flooring and the aesthetics. Ensure that all pieces are firmly locked together before re-applying skirting and architraves or adding beading. Flooring can contract and retract based on the heat of the room and moisture levels so do not fix skirting or beading to the floor. Fix skirting to the wall and fix beading to the skirting.



by: Xander Palmer

http://www.articlecity.com/articles/home_improvement/article_6471.shtml



Think of lighting as art for your home



Lighting is possibly the most powerful tool you have when it comes to interior design. It does not make sense to invest in beautiful furniture, rugs, paintings, and accessories if they are in the dark. The perfect light fixture not only illuminates a space - it is also a beautiful, decorative design element.



"When looking for a light fixture, think of yourself as a curator looking for a perfect piece of art," says interior designer Laurie Smith, known for her role as a featured designer on the hit television show Trading Spaces. Smith says, "Like art, a fabulous fixture can make a strong design statement, as well as provide illumination for your space."



Often consumers do not realize the difference updated lighting can make in their homes. Smith suggests finding one special piece and building a room around it. "In design school, we learned that lighting is the most exciting and mysterious medium in design. Lighting is sculptural; it's textural, it's exciting," she says.



"There are so many varying styles and designs in lighting today that the possibilities are endless. Different materials and shapes are just part of what goes into determining that perfect fixture," says Smith. "For instance, do you want the shape of your piece to contrast with your room's schematic or coordinate with it? Taking a traditional fixture and placing it into a modern setting creates interest through contrast, while taking a sleek modern fixture and putting it into a traditional setting infuses new vitality and a sophisticated accent."



With so many choices on the market, the task of selecting a light fixture can be difficult and overwhelming for many homeowners. It's just a matter of developing a plan or one idea. To help consumers get started, Smith talks about the importance of lighting to interior design in a new video series. Each minute-long video focuses on a different aspect of lighting and ways to incorporate it into every homeowner's design plan.



Videos in the series include:

* Choosing the Right Lighting Fixture

* Find an Object of Inspiration

* The Impact of a Single Lamp

* Lighting Fixtures as Art



Whether looking for one fixture or a complete lighting design plan, a great place to start is at a lighting retail showroom. There you will find professionally trained staff to help you select the perfect light for your space.



Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Room to spare





We are so often cluttered with the stuff from grown children that gets left behind as they get established elsewhere on their own. They like to have the unpaid additional storage space in a parent's home or they just don't want to make any decision about what to do with their things. So, their things are left taking up lots of precious space, even though the stuff may not be so precious to anyone anymore.



What to do with a spare room:



1. Dump the junk- Don't waste that spare room with an accumulation of junk. It won't go away on its own. Make a plan to clear out the clutter and disperse of the goods to people who can better use them. Your home's square footage is too valuable not to be using it.



2. Guestroom- Create a spa-like retreat for your guests. Include reading materials and brochures for local activities. Have some hotel-like amenities ready to go in a decorative basket so they feel welcome, knowing you have thought of their needs.



3. Craft or hobby room- You finally have a place to do your scrapbooking, sewing, or painting! Let this room be your private studio where creativity flows.



4. Gifting- Have a room just for gift giving. Keep ribbons, gift bags, tags, and wrapping paper in the room along with any items you have purchased ahead of time for gifts. Don't forget the scissors and tape. So whenever you need a present, it will be a snap to put one together.



5. Exercise room- This does not mean you have to have all the big equipment that you find at a gym, but if the area is designated as a workout space, you are more likely to do your yoga, palates, and strength training. Clear out the room and put your yoga mat, weights, TV, audio equipment and workout DVDs in it.



6. Home office- Instead of letting paper pile up on your coffee table or kitchen counter, set up an area to pay bills and answer mail. Put everything you need for these activities in the room including a desk, stamps, stationary and pens. Create a simple filing system and get a jump on tax preparation for next year.



7. Mediation room- Oh to have some peace and quiet-create it! Don't allow anything in this area that doesn't bring you peace and tranquility. Some suggested contents include a water fountain, floor cushions, candles, incense, and chimes. Selected reading and audio materials will also set the mood. A serene start or end to you day, or a quick getaway to rejuvenate.



8. Room to spare, room to share- create that media room, music, pool, puzzle, card or board game room and invite friends over for a night of fun and hospitality.



9. Renovators rescue- Use the empty room as the spare room to hold addition furniture, etc. when you are renovating - flooring especially is difficult as you need room to move all your stuff. When all your renovations are complete, rework your spare room into one of the above suggestions.



Often your spare room can be used for several of these purposes. So next time you walk by that room, stop a moment to think about the possibilities. Take the next steps today to give that spare room some real purpose and turn it into a room that will give you a feeling of satisfaction and relaxation.